Lulea to Rovaniemi to Turku
Trip Start May 13, 2013
20Trip End Jun 26, 2013
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Where I stayed
overnight train to Tampere
What I did
The office at the Bus Station wasn't open, so we looked at all the different signs at the different bus "terminals" - there were electronic timetables showing destinations and departure times
While we waited, we chatted mainly to a chap from England who made TV documentaries - there were groups of travelers all over the place. It must've been coming up to 10.00 when I decided I ought to search out a loo - the bus trip was over 2 hours and I didn't want to count on it having toilets on board. Got as far as the bus station office - only to realise it was open! I didn't exactly yahoo across that great big area of tarmac - but I think they all must have guessed something by my demeanor! There was a rush on the cafe and the loos. That's where I got the bus timetable - from that office - so I've copied it and included both directions in my photos. It's really hard to get info about this crossing from Sweden to Finland! I read, on several sites, that the bus leaving Lulea was in time with the train's arrival. Not so.
The bus left promptly at 10.50. The Parade (National holiday parade) was taking place as we went through Haparanda - the part we saw was all the cars of 1950s early 60s vintage (I'll come back to this later in Stockholm). Didn't take a lot of notice - but I did see them! Not enough time to get a photo - the bus was avoiding the 'parade'
The bus company from Lulea to Haparanda, which is free with Eurail, is Lanstrafiken in Norbotten; and the companies that do Haparanda-Tornio-Kemi are Veljekset Salmela and Net-matkat. We got off at Haparanda at 13.15 Swedish time (14.15 Finnish time) and our next bus arrived while we (we being a group of about 10) were still trying to read the timetable! It went from Haparanda straight through to Kemi - via a lot of back streets - arriving at the station at 15.00. So there is another travel story busted - I thought we had to walk across the border. Not so.
The train from Kemi to Rovaniemi left at 15.19 and arrived there at 16.44. The train itself was very ordinary, the scenery was okay though. An hour and 40 minutes later than I expected to be there. I still thought we had enough time to spend nearly 90 minutes at Santa Claus's Village and Park, but .....
The bus timetable out to Santa's Village had changed just a few days before. So we spent a long time standing at the bus stop. This bus stop was the ONLY place with the new timetable - the old timetable was on the wall at the railway station - and also on the wall of the bus when we finally got on
Rovaniemi is on the Arctic Circle and we arrived on the longest day of the year! Ha ha. At this latitude the sun rises for the last time on the 6th June and does not set until the 7th July.
Got back to Rovaniemi railway station about 18.45 - and had about 2 and a half hours to fill in before the overnight train to Tampere. We needed to eat and hadn't spotted anything interesting from the bus, food wise - plus being a bit fed-up - so decided to eat at the restaurant at the station. I think we had pizza - and beers. But just when you're getting a bit bored - guess what? You meet someone and have a great conversation and the time just passes so quickly! And that's what happened to us - met a young guy (mid to late 20s) who'd come to Rovaniemi for an interview at the university. We talked about all sorts of things - one was about housing as we'd noticed a variety of housing - and before we knew it, it was time to get out on the platform
The express 274 went through to Helsinki, so we had to change at Tampere at 5.48. There was just a few minutes wait, then we were on the express 904 to Turku and then on to Turku Satama (the port). Just a short walk to the ferry.